Over-hyped storm still packed a wallop elsewhere

Wednesday, October 19, 2016by  Jon Osterberg
Many folks delighted in jeering last weekend’s “storm that never was,” but in reality, it caused notable damage. Just not as much as some forecasts suggested, and not near big cities.
     PEMCO’s Thursday through Monday claims volume for property damage jumped 49% over the same days last year, which were not stormy. So far, the most significant loss appears to be for a 75-foot tree that fell through a detached garage in Eatonville.
     Although inland areas in Western Washington and the Willamette Valley generally escaped severe winds, points south and along the Pacific endured a good pounding. Coastal areas saw gusts of 78 mph near Kalaloch, 62 near Tokeland, 86 near Naselle, 61 near Lincoln City, and 102 at Mary's Peak in Oregon's coastal range.
     As UW professor Cliff Mass wrote in his blog today, the storm was not weaker than forecast, but it was a bit smaller and passed about 60 miles west of its projected course. He added, “Meteorologists such as myself did not effectively communicate the changing threat of this storm and the uncertainty in the forecasts.”
     Farther south, the storm did hit pretty hard. My son and I drove north from San Francisco on Saturday at noon, charging directly into strong sustained winds and torrential rain.
     Gusts uprooted bushes and blew them across I-5 by the time we hit Arbuckle, and climbing from Redding to the Siskiyous was a white-knuckle drive. Just north of Shasta Lake we passed a semi-truck that had crashed off the freeway, its trailers wrapped around trees down a steep embankment and packages strewn all over the hillside.
     Rain fell in buckets in southern Oregon. The storm broke three days of rain records in Eugene
     So even though doomsday forecasts led to much-ado-about-nothing mockery (I’m reminded of Neil Young introducing a song in concert with, “It starts out kind of slow and then fizzles out altogether”), it’s a good thing homeowners heeded the warnings and took steps to prevent damage. Otherwise, claim volumes might have been much higher.

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